Hormone replacement therapy was a subject of many debates over the years.
It bears an amount of risk, but it also provides various benefits for the patients. It is mainly prescribed to women in menopause or those who had hysterectomy. It helps them heal the uncomfortable symptoms the lack of estrogen and progesterone can cause.
Hormone replacement therapy is also one of the steps in gender reassignment. It is a big decision, and it affects the body so it changes more towards the gender you identify with.
Why is hormone replacement therapy used in gender reassignment?
Hormones control a number of processes in our bodies, and they are the ones who determine gender characteristics as well. This is why it is important to take hormone replacement therapy in the process of gender reassignment.
Hormone replacement therapy in females who want to become men involves taking testosterone and reducing estrogen to an amount typically found in male body. Such therapy leads to a number of changes and helps women look and feel more like men during and after the gender reassignment. In case you experience side effects of hormone replacement therapy please make sure to contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Changes in physical appearance
Testosterone causes many changes in physical appearance which will become obvious after a few months to a few years of the hormone therapy. It affects the skin and the hair to look mo re masculine.
This means that the hair becomes thinner and even boldness may occur. Body hair, on the other hand, becomes thicker and starts appearing on places where it used not to be present. The skin becomes thicker and coarser, and slightly oilier, which is typical of men.
The whole body will shift more to the typical “male pattern”. This means that the muscle mass will increase and distribute to upper parts of the body. The fat will distribute from hips, thighs and rear to stomach, which is typical of men.
Changes in menstruation, sexual function and desire
When you start taking testosterone, menstruation will stop in quite a short time – from 1 to 6 months. Testosterone causes sexual desire to increase, so your libido is most likely to become higher. Clitoris increases and becomes more sensitive, which also affects the sex drive.
Long-term testosterone therapy may result in infertility. However, during the first several years of taking HRT, it is still possible to get pregnant. Therefore, if you have sex, make sure to use protection.
HRT based on testosterone can affect the voice in females. More precisely, it can make it deeper. This change usually starts around the third month of the therapy, and after one year the voice is not to change any longer.
Bone density is another change your body may undergo. There is a common myth that the bones will enlarge, but this is not true.
The size of the skeleton remains the same after puberty; it is only the density of the bones that may change.
Lastly, HRT may affect the mood as well. However, it is difficult to determine when the mood is affected by hormones, and when it changes due to other factors. Still, if you experience mood swings or depression, therapy can help.